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and it is distinctions that give us the complexity we need to understand the world and assad ran a brutal dictatorship but nothing like saddam hussein. i had my passport taken by the iraqi authorities when i was in iraq -- i was very nervous obviously. i only got back to the airport before i left. i was a journalist who got too close to my story and i was intent on eliminating saddam hussein. i believed like the lot of people, different western countries in the world and on both sides of the aisle that there were wm ds and i believe a regime this suffocatingly brutal you couldn't trust. you had to assume that it existed and the work turned out so miserably. had we had different generals and different strategy could have been different. you can't simply say it wouldn't have mattered no matter what we did but on the other hand a lot of the mistakes we made were implicit in the hubris of the conception because we can play counterfact wills all we want but at the end of the day you are stuck with the fact you have and you have to live with them and deal with them. >> you add up the costs. almost 5,000 ame
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